OUR STORY 2008 - 2023

Matt Feld

Favourite moment: All of it – from start to finish.

Greatest lessons learned: To be a good human being.

Freedoms gained: Freedom of thought and because of this the ability to shape your life how you chose.

Matt was nine when he came home from school to find his social worker waiting for him, not his mum.
He explains: “She was stood there, and she said, ‘your mum’s run away’, I don’t remember much else.” He can remember his social worker’s name, he says she was brilliant, but he can’t remember how he felt. He thinks he felt nothing for a few weeks. His life became a series of moves from one respite foster carer to another. When Matt thought he’d found a permanent foster family it came to an end abruptly because the family wanted a girl, not a boy. Matt finds it hard to remember what happened when, but he clearly remembers the day he was in a social services office and a former social worker called Andy, who had just become a foster carer spoke up and agreed to take him in. Andy lived with his partner Tom, and they became Matt’s parents. It was in this foster home that he met Mark Thompson, who became his brother. Together the brothers began to go to Freedom Road, like other FRCA kids they found the charity through the RAPP project. Matt said: “It was brilliant. It was my getaway. There was so much positivity it was life-altering. I think it was the atmosphere that made it like that.”

Matt was bullied at secondary school; he has ginger hair and he stood out. He says that being a part of Freedom Road gave him confidence. “I did all the plays. I remember being told don’t look at the audience, look up and you won’t think about them. I think being on stage in front of a massive crowd is the only thing that could have given me the confidence. I was a shy kid.”

Matt, who works on the docks in Hull, says that he still has a level sense of confidence today. He is now thirty and in recent times he found his mum and met up with her where she lives in Hastings. `it is the first contact he has had with her, and he asked why she left, she told him she met a man. He goes on to say that his dad left when he was born because he wasn’t a girl. Does it bother him? He shrugs and says: “I’ve lasted this long without my parents coming into my life. I catch what life throws at me and get on with it.” When he is asked about having a difficult childhood and how that’s affected him he says: “I didn’t have a difficult childhood. I had the best childhood. If I hadn’t grown up in care, I’d probably be smoking crack. Instead, I’ve had opportunities. I learned stuff, I went to Australia with Freedom Road, and I had a family at home and a family at Freedom Road.”

He says he absorbed a love of music at Freedom Road and he went on to teach himself the guitar and to learn the drums. But for Matt, the greatest lesson he learned at Freedom Road was to be himself. He explains: “They taught me to be my own person, I don’t know how they put that in me, but they gave us a sense of individuality and the chance to be who I am. The more you are your own person – the more you own your own mind.”

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